DALLAS — A streamlined menu and new value platforms helped propel sales and traffic at Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurants during the most recent quarter. The restaurant chain recently reduced its menu items by 40 percent and introduced value propositions such as $5 margaritas and a 3 for $10 menu.
“Ever since then, we've delivered sequential improvements in our results,” said Wyman T. Roberts, CEO and president of parent company Brinker International Inc. during an Oct. 30 earnings call. “This quarter has been our best year, outperforming the industry on sales and significantly outperforming on traffic.
“With our most recent menu, we introduced the comprehensive value strategy that brings to life value propositions that are compelling to our core guests at both lunch and dinner. We’ve taken an aggressive approach to creating offerings that meet a variety of consumers’ needs and that leverage the unique attributes that differentiate the Chili’s brand. We know our guests well. We listen to them and we’re committed to make it affordable for them to enjoy Chili’s more frequently. Our guests are telling us that our focus this past year on ensuring our food is faster and hotter is having a big impact on their experience. We can see that progress in every metric we track.”
Brinker International Inc. in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 ended Sept. 26 had net income of $26.4 million, or $0.64 on per share on the common stock, which was up 177 percent from $9.9 million, or $0.20 per share, in the previous year’s first quarter. Total revenues in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 increased 1.9 percent to $753.8 million from $739.4 million.
Brinker now plans to turn its focus to the Chili’s takeout business, which has been bolstered by the introduction of its to-go online platform launched in the second half of fiscal 2018.
“Our new to-go business continues to grow double digits and now we're growing traffic both inside and outside the restaurant,” Roberts said. “So we’ve dialed in the basics and will continue to refine and tweak as we move forward. As I spend more time in our restaurants with our team members and guests, it’s clear that our next step is to focus on executing more consistently, especially during peak times. So the Chili’s leadership team and I are doubling down on our support of our operators, focusing on delivering on systems that ensure we can execute with excellence.”